The Giants opened up a 40-man roster spot in trading Sam Coonrod, able to add a starting pitcher or lefty bat without losing someone. That’s big.
As is the prospect they wound up with.
In exchange for the big-armed Coonrod, the Giants landed 6-foot-8 Carson Ragsdale, a fourth-round pick in 2020 of the Phillies. The 22-year-old will help fill a shallow pool of Giants prospective starting pitchers after transitioning into the rotation his final season at the University of South Florida.
Ragsdale had been a two-way player at USF, also playing first base and relieving his first few seasons, but elevated his value with four solid starts in 2020. He posted a 2.84 ERA in 19 innings while striking out 37 and walking seven, including a dominant performance against No. 1 Florida, in which he punched out 10 in four innings.
The Giants see him as a starter and an “intriguing pitching prospect” because of how new he is to the role.
“He’s got a really good fastball, a plus curveball — it has a chance to really be an elite, swing-and-miss pitch for him. So the ability to spin it is really attractive,” Farhan Zaidi said over Zoom on Saturday.
Players with two big-league pitches typically end up relievers, and so the Giants want him to develop a third pitch that can supplement his arsenal. But the potential is there.
“A guy who’s 6-8, who’s a good athlete, who’s relatively new to pitching, was relatively new to starting,” Zaidi said of the righty. “There’s reason to be excited about the upside.”
Ragsdale was an underslot addition by the Phillies, but Zaidi said the Giants had him valued in the fourth or fifth round, too.
While there were other possible motivations to part with Coonrod, who declined to kneel with the rest of his teammates and the Dodgers during a moment of unity and objected to the Black Lives Matter movement, subtracting a righty reliever — of which the Giants now have nine on their 40-man roster — and adding a starting prospect takes away from a surplus and adds to a need.
The Giants have few near-big-league-ready starting arms, Sean Hjelle the closest and Seth Corry likely with the biggest potential.